the lead-up to a Cleveland jamboree of xenophobia, white racism, and hush-hush
porn. Polite media called the Republican Party gathering a convention. Others
called it a Klanvention.
Fear & Loathing in Ohio
Donald Trump’s Fascist Bacchanal
True-believers: Death to Hillary Clinton!
by Thomas Adcock
Copyright © 2016 – Thomas Adcock
NEW YORK CITY, near America
Like flies buzzing over hot dung, admirers of the execrable Donald J. Trump flocked to mid-July’s Republican Party convention in Cleveland—as both duly-elected delegates and a sidewalk rabble of heavily-armed nazis, white nationalists waving Confederate flags and semiautomatic assault rifles, spittle-spewing Jesus jumpers howling about abortion and black helicopters coming to get them, and pistol-packing motorcycle louts with muscled arms inked in swastikas. Consistent with Ohio state law, the rabble goose-stepped outside the Quicken Loans Arena with loaded weaponry on full display.
Inside, the scene was no less exotic. Credentialed delegates—some two thousand of America’s suburban and small-town bourgeoisie, many with concealed revolvers—broke into frequent chants of “USA!…USA!…USA!” Alternate bellowing referenced Republican nominee Donald J. Trump (“SAY HIS NAME!”…”BUILD THAT WALL!”) and his Democratic Party opponent, Hillary Clinton (“LOCK HER UP!“). They wore funny hats and an array of lapel pins indicating their witty distaste for Mrs. Clinton, the most ubiquitous of which read “LIFE’S A BITCH, DON’T ELECT ONE.”
Enjoying himself in the élite seats as Mr. Trump mounted the convention podium in a Las Vegas-style cloud of theatrical fog—was Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, a bright star in the galaxy of European proto-fascism. As parliamentary leader of the far-right Dutch Party for Freedom, Mr. Wilders’ Islamophobic and anti-immigrant bona fides are as impressive as those of his American idol, who pledges to deport some eleven million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. for generations, and ban Muslims from entering the country until “we find out what the hell’s going on.”
Enjoying himself as he watched the televised proceedings at his home near New Orleans was David Duke, America’s best-known racist, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist, and Holocaust denier. A former member of the Louisiana state legislature and one-time grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Mr. Duke now seeks election to the U.S. Senate as a Republican. He said of Mr. Trump’s bizarre speech upon accepting the party’s presidential nomination, “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
In that dark and dystopian acceptance address, Mr. Trump vowed, “I alone” will solve the nation’s problems and needs. Among the needs, as he reckons them, Mr. Trump again pledged to build a continent-wide wall along the southern border to prevent the entry of “murderers” and “rapists,” as he calls dirt poor Mexicans desperate to improve their lives in El Norte. The speech scared the bejeezus out of those who hold faith in an America of democracy and mercy. With reference to ultra-right programming at Fox Television network, David Remnick of The New Yorker magazine wrote that the entire Republican convention was “like a four-day-long Fox-fest, full of fear-mongering, demagoguery, xenophobia, third-rate show biz, pandering, and raw anger.”
Surprisingly, no one was killed inside or outside the convention arena, though not for a lack of promoting death and bloodshed.
Two convention delegates—Michael Folk, a member of the West Virginia state legislature, and Duane Flowers, a county commissioner in rural Ohio—called for the execution of Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Folk enumerated her transgressions as “treason, murder, and crimes against the U.S. Constitution.” Mr. Flowers said the Democratic presidential candidate “should be hanging from a tree,” a method of dispatch also favored by his West Virginia comrade. (The United States Secret Service provides nonpartisan personal protection for Hillary Clinton and Mr. Trump. As such, the agency assesses death threats against either candidate. To that end, Messrs. Folk and Flowers are being questioned as I write.)
The splashiest death threat came from Al Baldasaro, a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. On the campaign trail, candidate Trump refers to him as “my favorite veteran” due to the state lawmaker’s advice and counsel on military affairs. A retired U.S. Marine Corps officer and present-day firearms enthusiast, Mr. Baldasaro and his wife Judy were accompanied by a bevy of rifle-toting attendants for their wedding day portrait three years ago—groom in dark suit and boutonnière, bride standing by her man in white satin and trusty AR-15 assault rifle. In Cleveland, Mr. Baldasaro declared, “Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” (Notwithstanding his service as a Marine, the Secret Service is also interrogating Mr. Trump’s favorite veteran.)
The Republican Party has yet to issue an institutional disavowal of its delegates’ violent rhetoric. Nor have reporters pressed the party panjandrums for their individual views about hanging and/or shooting Mrs. Clinton, though a few low-level Republicans have mumbled tut-tut.
Apparently as obsessed with armaments as Mr. Baldasaro and his missus, Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus opened the convention with a dire warning to delegates, sidewalk rabble, and the television viewing audience: “You can kiss your guns good-bye if Hillary gets into the White House.” But Republicans of all strata seemed engrossed in even more important things; of utmost interest was naughty sex.
Whereas the party manifesto adopted July 18 denounced pornography as a “public health crisis,” once in the privacy of their hotel rooms delegates were as skeevy as anyone else in prurient crisis. According to the Daily Dot, a digital newspaper, online pornography traffic increased 184 percent during the Republican convention week, topping out at 873,294 views of filmed sex acts. The communications were traceable to hotel room wi-fi service.
Sexually explicit websites were bombarded with hits from secretly salacious Republicans. The kinkiest of whom searched cyberspace for Melania and Ivanka Trump look-alikes as ersatz sex partners—Donald Trump’s wife and daughter, respectively. In the case of Mrs. Trump, née Melanija Knauss of Slovenia, demurely nude images were plentiful.
Though unsought, the name Kelly Trump (at right) often popped up on sites explored by frisky Republicans. Thus, the namesake 1990s German porn star enjoyed a brief career revival in cyberspace. (Kelly Trump is not known as related to the Trumps of America.)
By far the strangest convention speaker was Ben Carson, the African American brain surgeon who briefly led a Republican field of nomination hopefuls during preliminary nominating contests earlier this year. Dr. Carson, whose home is graced with an oil painting of a blond-haired, blue-eyed Jesus Christ placing a friendly arm around the black surgeon’s shoulders, characterized Hillary Clinton as evil incarnate. The brain surgeon’s syllogistic reasoning: In her college years, Mrs. Clinton cited as one of her mentors the legendary social justice activist Saul Alinsky (1909-1972). In a forward to his book “Rules for Radicals,” Mr. Alinsky named Lucifer “the first radical” for his rebellion against Christianist law and order; therefore, asked Dr. Carson, “Are we willing to elect as president someone who has as their (sic) role model somebody who acknowledges Lucifer?”
Per the foregoing, the Republican half of a binary American polity has been whipped to a froth of rancorous confusion in advance of federal elections this November, scheduled on the eve of Kristallnacht’s seventy-eighth anniversary. This virtually all-white voting bloc seems in existential fear of changing demographics: According to U.S. Census Bureau projections, the year 2017 will mark the first time in U.S. history when most children are black, Latino, or Asian; by the year 2060, citizens of European ancestry will be the overall minority population.
Democrats, a racially and ethnically diverse group, fear the sound of marching hobnail boots.
For one and all, the choice for president this year is a referendum on national decency.
In every democratic society, social ills usually top the list of election issues. At this moment in America, they are: One percent of the population owns half the nation’s household wealth, in large measure caused by a devolution from production capitalism to finance capitalism; the country bristles with legal firearms once restricted to the battlefields of war; police brutality is epidemic, and mostly unpunished; highways, bridges, tunnels, railroads, and airports are dilapidated or crumbled; the Census Bureau counts more than forty million citizens living in poverty; wages and salaries have stagnated for decades and labor union membership has plummeted, resulting in a shrunken middle class—the bulwark of democracy.
Solutions to such problems are neither difficult to imagine nor impossible to achieve. But resistance to progress is likewise clear: Leadership of the Republican Party is publicly dedicated to thwarting curative policy proposals put forth by the country’s first black president. To that end, they have incubated a mob of true-believers to support a blowhard who claims to have built a multi-billion dollar real estate, entertainment, and merchandising empire; a faux tycoon who refuses to prove his wealth by releasing his tax returns for public scrutiny, as candidates of both major parties have done for nearly a hundred years; a man whose shoddy character and shoddy professional record are well-known.
By the evidence of his harsh pronouncements, Donald Trump is a racist, fascist, narcissist, misogynist, anti-Semite, ignoramus, vulgarian, pathological liar, and bully. By the evidence of legal briefs and depositions, he is a litigant in more than three thousand past and present civil court cases; most lawsuits accuse him of fraud or failure to pay. He is a six-time pleader for debt relief in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. He is co-defendant in the criminal child-rape matter of Jane Doe v. Donald J. Trump and Jeffery E. Epstein, currently pending in Manhattan’s federal district court.
In Doe, the Republican presidential candidate is accused of “various perverted and depraved sex acts” forced on a 13-year-old girl during a suburban sex party in the mid-1990s hosted by his friend and advisor, Jeffrey Epstein. A former Wall Street options trader and tax avoidance strategist, Mr. Epstein was registered as a sex offender following his 2008 conviction for solicitation of a minor child for prostitution, an offense that earned him an eight-month prison term.
In addition to associating with the vile Mr. Epstein, Donald Trump used the occasion of a recent press conference in Florida to implore the vile Russian President Vladimir Putin for assistance in his campaign against Hillary Clinton. Specifically, Mr. Putin was asked to direct his operatives to hack into Mrs. Clinton’s email correspondence. Condemnation was swift.
Philip Reiner, a former National Security Council official in the Obama administration, labeled Mr. Trump a “scumbag animal.” In an interview with Politico, the online magazine, he added, “Hacking is a criminal activity. And Trump has asked a foreign government—a murderous, repressive regime—to attack not just one of our citizens but the Democratic presidential candidate. It’s a national security threat.”
William Inboden, who served on the N.S.C. during the Republican administration of President George W. Bush, said Mr. Trump’s shout-out to Mr. Putin and his hacking squad was “tantamount to treason.”
Bradley Moss, a Washington-based attorney specializing in national security law, suggested that Mr. Trump could be prosecuted for inciting “imminent lawless action.” Incitement, Mr. Moss noted, is not protected by the Constitution’s free speech guarantee under the First Amendment. In theory, he said Mr. Trump could be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as a co-conspirator in hacking email—whether personal in nature, or of governmental concern. Conviction would carry a sentence of up to ten years’ federal imprisonment.
America’s top Republican elected official—Congressman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, speaker of the House of Representatives and chairman of the party convention in Cleveland—responded with a limp, two-sentence press release that made no mention of or lay blame on the party’s presidential pick. “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug,” the Ryan statement read. “Putin should stay out of this election.”
Robert Reich—professor of public policy at the University of California’s Berkeley campus and a cabinet official in Republican and Democratic presidential administrations—went further. Though he says he is “no conspiracy theorist,” the professor listed alarming facts that would seem to reveal motivation behind Donald Trump’s coziness with a Moscow thug:
- “Trump’s [corporate] debt load has grown dramatically over the last year, from $350 million to $630 million (€316 million to €569.6). At the same time, he’s been blackballed by all major U.S. banks.”
- “Post-bankruptcy, Trump has become highly reliant on money from Russia, most of which has…become increasingly concentrated among oligarchs close to Putin.”
- “Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager and top advisor, spent most of the last decade as top campaign and communications advisor to Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukranian prime minister and then president whose ouster in 2014 led to the on-going crisis and proxy war in Ukraine. Yanukovych was and remains a close ally of Putin.”
- “Trump’s foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe is Carter Page, a man whose entire professional career has revolved around investments in Russia, and who has deep and continuing financial and employment ties to Gazprom, which, in turn, is part of Putin’s financial empire.”
- “The Trump camp was…indifferent to Republican Party platform [committee deliberations], with one exception: [Elimination of Washington] assistance to Ukraine against Russian military operations in eastern Ukraine. Not incidentally, this is the single most important issue to Putin.”
- “Trump is also suggesting the U.S., and thus [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization], might not come to the defense of N.A.T.O. member states in the Baltics in the case of a Russian invasion—another important issue to Putin.”
This summer—finally—the establishmentarian Washington Post and New York Times newspapers respectively warned that Donald Trump is “a danger to the nation and the world” and a “shady, bombastic liar…whose quest for the presidency revolves around targeting religious and racial minorities and people with disabilities, who flirts with white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan, who ridicules and slanders those who disagree with him.”
But according to Paul Manafort, the candidate’s principal mouthpiece, all charges and allegations made against Mr. Trump are “absurd.” Which is a careful expression, one quite different than denying the charges and allegations outright.
Donald J. Trump is a leading character in zeitgeist of rage and spectacle devoid of substance; an age of incoherent resentments, in which corporate media provide equal opportunity for erudition and emotion-soaked ignorance. Mr. Trump’s bravura performances—as host of “The Apprentice” television show, where he delights in shaming nervous job applicants by roaring “You’re fired!” and nowadays as an incongruous presidential aspirant—are weirdly fascinating.
First, we laugh at him. Then we cry for the beloved country.
Cover Girls – Melania & Michelle
Speaking of the former Melanija Knauss—a scantily-clad model who anglicized her name to Melania, then took U.S. citizen in 2006 after marrying Donald Trump the year prior (following a lengthy courtship during his second marriage to a woman dismissed as “nice tits, no brain”)—the would-be first lady addressed the Republican faithful on opening night of convention festivities. Her speech was a poised teleprompter reading of praise for her husband. Encomia included several passages plagiarized from a speech delivered by Michelle Obama in 2008 when she introduced her own husband, Barack, to delegates of that year’s Democratic Party convention.
—Did Mrs. Trump imagine herself married to President Obama rather than an orange-faced, oddly coiffed man twenty-four years her senior?
Since ‘08, pious Republicans have scolded Mrs. Obama for her sleeveless frocks. Heaven forfend! Bare shoulders! Buff arms!
But nothing seems to have aroused similar ire as regards Melania’s pre-Donald cheesecake poses, the most famous being a sex-kitty cover shot for GQ Magazine in January 2000. The issue’s three major interior articles were headlined “Naked Supermodel Special!” and “The GQ Bitch List: Who We Hate & Why” and “Sex at 30,000 ft: Melania Knauss Earns Her Air Miles.” By contrast, Mrs. Obama has posed for the cover of Vogue magazine—shockingly sleeveless.
More amusing than cheesecake and plagiarism was a labored explanation as to how word-for-word wifely sentiments of the demonized Michelle Obama found their way to Melania Trump’s teleprompter screen. After two days of fumbling, Mr. Manafort settled on a tale: During a telephone consultation with her “team” of speechwriters, Mrs. Trump happened to have recited her very favorite lines from the text of Mrs. Obama’s 2008 speech, which she just so happened to have handy, after which one of the note-taking team “accidentally” incorporated said verbiage into Mrs. Trump’s speech. Oops!
NOTE: Upon marriage to a pathological liar, Melania née Malanija asserted that she held a degree in architecture and design from a Slovenian university. Earlier this year, journalists in the capital city of Ljubljana debunked that claim. At some point during the last week of July, the assertion was scrubbed from a Melania Trump website linked to her husband’s campaign website.
Similarly, Donald Trump’s first wife falsified her résumé. Ivana Trump, née Ivana Zelnícková, claimed to have been an alternate on the 1972 Czechoslovak Olympic ski team. But in 1989, an exasperated Petr Pomezny, secretary general of the Czechoslovak Olympic Committee, said in an interview with a New York newspaper, “Who is this Ivana woman and why do people keep calling us about her? We have searched so many times and have consulted many, many people—and there is no such girl in our records.”
The gifted satirist Stephen Colbert, who famously coined the term “truthiness,” the adjectival form of accepting useful falsehoods pedaled by the likes of Donald Trump and his wives. Mr. Colbert’s definition of truthiness: a belief in something that feels true, even if not supported by fact. He recently expanded on the concept of fungible truth with a new coinage—“trumpiness.” In the July 18 broadcast of his “Late Night” show on CBS Television, he explained:
“Truthiness is from the gut, but trumpiness clearly comes from much further down the gastrointestinal tract. Truthiness has to feel true, but trumpiness doesn’t even have to do that. In fact, many Trump supporters don’t believe his wildest promises, and they don’t care.
Like the border wall, for example. Everyone knows it will never happen. One supporter last week admitted, ‘I think if he strengthens the borders…[I]t will be the same as building the wall…[T]he wall can be built even without having to be built.’
So—if you can feel the wall, you don’t actually have to see the wall. It’s like the Emperor’s New Border in a way.”
On optimistic days, I enjoy thinking that most of my countrymen are capable of seeing through trumpiness—and will act reasonably come November. Garrison Keillor, the radio humorist and essayist, agrees. For the Washington Post of July 20, he wrote: “This is a lovely true thing about America. It’s a holy mess and we’re melted together, stuck to each other cheek by jowl. And the angry losers who want to straighten out this mess, build a wall, deport the aliens, isolate ourselves from the world—[T]hey are a minority.”
—Thomas Adcock is America correspondent for CulturMag
Additional photo credits
Geert Wilders – BBC Television
David Duke – FaceBook
Baldasaro wedding party – FaceBook
Kelly Trump – pornhub.com
Ben Carson – NBC Television
Donald Trump – CNN Television
Jeffrey Epstein – New York Corrections Dept.
Robert Reich – robertreich.com
Stephen Colbert – CBS Television/publicity
Garrison Keillor – National Public Radio/publicity